Has the TCB already run out of supplies?
Come every Ramadan, we are confronted with rampant price hikes and unethical trade practices in sharp contrast to the spirit of the holy month. We were, thus, appreciative of the government's move to sell essential items during Ramadan 180 open trucks across the country at fair prices in a bid to keep the cost of essentials within reach of consumers and smooth supply through the Trading Corporation of Bangladesh (TCB). However, the TCB seems to have suspended its supply of five items – sugar, soybean, lentils, chickpeas and dates – to general dealers from June 6 due to a shortage of the commodities.
We are at a loss to understand how the state-run authority can run out of supplies so early on in the month, when it was supposed to continue its open market sales till June 30. What is even more perplexing is that the TCB is offering contradictory statements regarding the shortage of supplies. While TCB reportedly issued a circular on Wednesday stating that it has decided to stop open truck sales of essentials at district level for lack of adequate supply alongside suspending the allocation of the fourth installment, upon query, TCB officials are now claiming they have enough stock and that the shortage is due to "mismanagement and lack of coordination." If the latter is true, the TCB needs to answer why it has allowed such mismanagement to put a halt to the smooth functioning of its activities, when it should have ensured efficient delivery of goods to the people at this crucial time.
The government must look into the matter and make sure that the TCB performs its duties as per its mandate to deliver quality essential items at affordable prices to the people during the whole month.